Monday, March 7, 2011

The Witches of Eastwick, John Updike

This was an amazingly compelling, well written novel.  It is shocking, unpredictable, exciting and hence delightful at the same time.  The story and the mood of the story is very different than the movie.  You won't find a chapter with a description of Darryl Van Horne (played by Jack Nickolson) murderously storming down the street, spitting out chicken feathers, returning to home to take care of his naughty coven.  Instead, you will find that the witches, namely Jane, Sukie and Alexa, are a bit more wicked than portrayed in the movie.  Darryl is a less devious and magical, and the story less fantastic. There is an additional major character, Jenny, in love with Darryl adding a whole new subplot to the story.

This would be a great adult book club book, not only for the discussion of the story, but to discuss Updike's mastery of description and insight into human behavior.  I would follow the discussion with a movie night viewing of The Witches of Eastwick with flowing adult beverages. 

This would not be a good book for high school discussions, and would likely insult the heck out of anyone who isn't open to discuss the self centered wicked lives of the coven.  Morals are not held up in any high standards, though there is a fair amount of regret tied to bad witchie choices.

Lastly, Mr. Updike has a sequel published in 2008, The Widows of Eastwick.  I have not read this yet, but wonder why he waited so long to write part two!  The Amazon reviews are not as high as they are for the The Witches of Eastwick, so perhaps it isn't as good.

Updike has many other great novels under his belt, so if this selection doesn't appeal to your sensibilities, there are many other great novels such as his famous Rabbit series. I found a complete list on wikipedia:

Happy Bookclub Reading!  Katherine.